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LaRue County coach Travis Wootton and his staff emerged from the locker room just over 4 minutes into the halftime break Monday night at Caverna, much earlier than they usually do.
With the way the Lady Hawks played in the first half, there just wasn’t much for Wootton to say during the intermission.
Top-seeded LaRue County put up 36 points in the first quarter and reached 60 by halftime in dismantling the fourth-seeded Hart County Lady Raiders, 81-31 in the 18th District Girls’ Basketball Tournament semifinals.
The Lady Hawks had 17 assists, 13 of which came in the first half.
“The more we share the ball, the better we play,” said junior guard Alexis Brewer, who had 22 points, eight steals, seven rebounds and five assists. “For a girls’ game, it’s really impressive to put that many points up.”
Senior forward Ivy Brown led LaRue County with 24 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists as the Lady Hawks (21-6) topped the Lady Raiders (6-20) for the third time this season.
“It’s one game at a time, the old cliché,” said Wootton, whose team won its seventh straight game. “That’s why they’re old clichés, because they are so true.”
LaRue County opened the game on an 11-0 run with five of the points coming from senior forward Alley Evans. Hart County had four turnovers before it even attempted a shot as LaRue County’s 1-3-1 half-court trap caused all sorts of problems.
Leading 20-6, the Lady Hawks went on a 16-0 run, eight of which came from Brown.
“I think the momentum we came out with just really helped us throughout the game,” said sophomore guard Delany Eastridge, who had 10 points and three assists. “If we start playing like that every game … we’re just a better team in general when we come out ready.”
Hart County’s Charity Burd ended the run with a layup with 4 seconds left in the first, so LaRue County started a new one in the second.
Eighth-grader Presley Brown – 1-of-6 Lady Hawks with at least seven points – had four points during a 12-0 spurt for a 48-8 lead with 5:13 left in the first half. Eighth-grader Mallory Williams drained a 3-pointer and Eastridge scored on a drive to put LaRue County up 60-12 at halftime.
LaRue County assisted on seven of its 16 field goals in the first quarter and 6-of-11 in the second.
“The girls were sharing the ball and trusting each other,” Wootton said. “And obviously we have some pretty decent players.”
Junior forward Alyson Yingling added eight points and five rebounds for the Lady Hawks, who shot 50 percent (34-of-68) from the field.
LaRue County advances to its third 5th Region Tournament in the last four seasons.
Before they attempt a return trip to the region final, where they lost to eventual state champion Marion County last season, the Lady Hawks will face either the second-seeded Green County Lady Dragons (14-9) or the third-seeded Caverna Lady Colonels (14-13) in the district title game Thursday. Green County and Caverna meet tonight.
Green County was the last team to beat LaRue County when it ended the Lady Hawks’ 12-game winning streak against district opponents.
“Either one, it doesn’t matter, I guess,” Brewer said of her preference. “We’re going to come to play. But since Green beat us, I guess we’d like to play them and get revenge.”
LARUE COUNTY 81, HART COUNTY 31
Hart County 8 4 11 8—31
LaRue County 36 24 18 3—81
Hart County (6-20)
Christessica Priddy 13, Charity Burd 6, Shae Crain 6, Hannah Bruton 4, Kelci Adcock 2. FG:11-42. FT: 7-10. 3-pointers: 2-13 (Crain 2-3, Burd 0-7, Adcock 0-2, Preslea Mabe 0-1).Rebs: 21 (Laura Croghan 6). Assists: 3 (Croghan 2). Steals: 6 (Bruton 2).
LaRue County (21-6)
Ivy Brown 24, Alexis Brewer 22, Delany Eastridge 10, Alyson Yingling 8, Alley Evans 7, Presley Brown 7, Mallory Williams 3. FG: 34-68. FT: 12-19. 3-pointers: 1-8 (Williams 1-2, I. Brown 0-2, Brewer 0-2, Hunter Holt 0-1, Tessa Yingling 0-1).Rebs: 41 (I. Brown 12, Brewer 7). Assists: 17 (I. Brown 7, Brewer 5). Steals: 18 (Brewer 8, I. Brown 5).
UP NEXT: LaRue County plays Green County or Caverna at 7 p.m. Thursday in the 18th District Tournament championship at Caverna.